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News Wrap: Gina Haspel nomination for CIA advances to full Senate vote

In the news wrap Wednesday, Gina Haspel moved a step closer to confirmation as President Trump's nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10 to five behind closed doors to approve her nomination. Also, President Trump modified his calls to ease sanctions against Chinese tech giant ZTE.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day’s other news, President Trump’s choice to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, Gina Haspel, moved one step closer to confirmation. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 behind closed doors to approve her nomination. Democratic Senators mark Warner and Joe Manchin added their support to the eight Republicans already backing Haspel.

    She’s come under criticism for her role in the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques of terrorism suspects. A full Senate vote could come as early as this week.

    A new footnote has been added to President Trump’s financial disclosure report from last year. This is a filing required by the Office of Government Ethics. What is new is a reimbursement in an amount ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 for his personal lawyer Michael Cohen. In the weeks before the 2016 election, Cohen paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford to keep her quiet about an alleged affair with Mr. Trump. The president denies the allegation.

    President Trump may have modified his calls to ease sanctions against the Chinese telecom giant campaign ZTE. Mr. Trump had tweeted on Sunday that he’d ordered the U.S. Commerce Department to give the company a way to get back into business fast. Today, Mr. Trump wrote that “Nothing has happened with ZTE, except as it pertains to the larger trade deal.”

    But FBI Director Christopher Wray separately told senators today that he’s deeply concerned about the Chinese company gaining ground in the U.S., because it gives them the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.

    European Council leader Donald Tusk had harsh words for President Trump today and what Tusk called his capricious policies. European leaders are scrambling to keep Iran in the nuclear multination agreement, now that the U.S. has withdrawn.

    At an E.U. summit in Bulgaria, Tusk rebuffed warnings from the U.S. that it may sanction E.U. countries for doing business with Iran.

  • Donald Tusk:

    Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think, with friends like that, who needs enemies? He has made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said today that Tehran will not surrender to U.S. sanctions pressure. And an aide to Ayatollah Khamenei said that he doubts the deal can be salvaged.

    Back in this country, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a thinly veiled criticism of the president and a warning for Americans. Tillerson delivered the commencement address today at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. He said that the country faces a growing crisis in ethics and integrity.

  • Rex Tillerson:

    If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no long grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    President Trump fired Tillerson as secretary of state in March after the two had clashed over key foreign policy issues.

    The Senate voted to preserve so-called net neutrality rules today. Three Republicans joined Democrats to pass the measure, reviving the Obama era policy aimed at maintaining equal access to the Internet. The FCC under President Trump has rolled back those protections, saying they hamper innovation.

    The vote was largely symbolic, as the bill is expected to stall in the House.

    The whistle-blower who uncovered Facebook’s data-mining scandal warned Congress today of a — quote — “new cold war online.” Christopher Wylie, a former Cambridge Analytica employee, told a Senate panel that the firm used people’s Facebook profiles to stoke paranoia and racial biases. The firm, which was employed by the Trump presidential campaign, has announced plans to close.

    In North Carolina, thousands of teachers flooded the state capital demanding better pay and protesting cutbacks. Educators marched through Raleigh, as the Republican-controlled state legislature began its annual session. Classes were canceled in dozens of school districts. In several other states, like West Virginia and Oklahoma, similar protests won teachers more funding.

    And Michigan State University has reached a $500 million settlement with the women and girls abused by former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Over 300 of Nassar’s victims sued the university for failing to protect them. Nassar is serving a decades-long prison sentence after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting patients while working at Michigan State.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 62 points to close at 24769. The Nasdaq rose 46 points. And the S&P 500 was up 11.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour,” what North Korea is signaling ahead of a planned meeting with the U.S.; the key takeaways from a slew of documents released in the Russia investigation; on the ground in the war-torn nation of Yemen; and much more.

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